I am sure you have thought of it at one point or the other. Can you buy Facebook ads to promote your app and still make a profit?

The quick answer is Yes and No.

No, because you cannot directly promote an app profitably at the moment. Not at the cost per click rates that you get on Facebook today. The lowest you can hope to pay for most demographics is about 0.40cents. To promote a $1.99 app, you will need to get about 1 download in 5 to break even., that is a 20% conversion rate!

How to promote an app strategically on Facebook

The best way to promote on Facebook is to send the traffic to a Facebook page. When users like a Facebook page, you can then continue to market to them for free.

It is not as straightforward as I make it sound but such is the nature of the App store. You need a solid business strategy here, no time for hobbyists.

Anyway, back to the Facebook tactic. Ideally your app should have a target audience. Let’s use “New Moms” as an example. Your Facebook page should not promote your app directly.

It should talk about topics that binds “New Moms” together. Facebook is a social network, and things need to be social for any strategy to work.

Check out this Facebook page, Being Mommy. At first glance it doesn’t look like it promotes any product right? Wrong, they have a community of moms that the owners engage in conversation about things that are dear to their heart.

Now that they have the attention of these moms, they can now insert information about apps that are relevant to them.

Normally you wouldn’t do this for just one app, you may start with one app but if you as smart, you will make apps that tend to the same demographic. This way, you will spend even less and less on marketing because you have that audience.

3 comments

  1. MoviesFanApps

    Thank you for this info. I was searching for this. I think it takes time to build a powerful page like that one that you give it as example. I try to find ways to promote my apps on Android Market using facebook. Any suggestions?

  2. Andreas

    Interesting take on this Tope – however, I would argue advertising your app on facebook can be effective if used effectively.

    Let’s say you are launching a new app – you’ve got an email list with about 1000 people that you know some of them will be interested in the app and you know a couple of blogs that are going to write about it.

    That should get you around 100-200 downloads.

    Then, you couple the launch with a promotion on let’s say Facebook and AdMob. Whilst you are definitely going to lose money on the downloads (as you say you need a crazy high conversion rate) you may find that the extra downloads you get, pushes you up the app store rankings and you achieve a top 1 to 5 in a category. That will give you extra exposure and increase your chances of being featured by Apple.

    I believe that’s an effective way to use Facebook and indeed something I’m experimenting with at the moment. My app is currently at number 3 in the UK sports and I’m keen to keep it there until Wednesday which I believe is roughly when Apply pick new apps to be featured. (Considering the featured lists are updated on a thursday)

  3. craig

    Great post, Facebook is an essential part of any promotion campaign. But the author is right, it needs to be done tactfully, nobody wants to be sold something on Facebook. One method I use on Facebook is to upload a video with my posts. People are more inclined to watch a video and feel less like a sales tactic. Just make a video for your app yourself or just have someone like blue fortress media or wyzowl make one for you. Once again, great article!